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Pac-12 To Begin 2020 College Football Season On November 6

Utah players take the field to warm up as they prepare to play UCLA in a college football game in Salt Lake City at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Six weeks after the Pac-12 announced that they were postponing fall sports until January 1, the conference will start their football season in November.

The 2020 Pac-12 football season will begin on Friday, November 6.

According to Stadium’s Brett McMurphy, the Pac-12 will have a similar model to what the Big Ten is doing. Six games will be a part of the regular season. The seventh game will be a postseason type game with the top two teams in the two divisions squaring off for the conference title. The second place teams will face each other and so on.

Teams in the Pac-12 can begin practicing right away. As long as that school has the necessary approval from public health officials. Colorado is not allowed to practice for at least two weeks after Boulder put out a restriction on large gatherings for college-age kids.

Statements From Conference Officials

Pac-12 CEO Group Chair and University of Oregon President Michael Schill released the following statement:

โ€œThe health and safety of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports remains our guiding light and number one priority,โ€ said Schill. โ€œOur CEO Group has taken a measured and thoughtful approach to todayโ€™s decision, including extensive consultation with stakeholders on the evolving information and data related to health and safety.โ€

“From the beginning of this crisis, our focus has been on following the science, data and counsel of our public health and infectious disease experts,โ€ said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott.ย  โ€œOur agreement with Quidel to provide daily rapid-results testing has been a game-changer in enabling us to move forward with confidence that we can create a safe environment for our student-athletes while giving them the opportunity to pursue their dreams. At the same time, we will continue to monitor health conditions and data and be ready to adjust as required in the name of the health of all.โ€

How We Got Here

A huge step to getting the season started earlier than January was a deal that the Pac-12 made with Quidel Corporations on September 3. The partnership allowed the Pac-12 do conduct COVID-19 tests for antigens with rapid results in a matter of 15 minutes. This would allow each athletic department in the conference to test the student-athletes daily.

On Wednesday, September 16, the Big Ten announced that they will begin their football season on the weekend of October 24. Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott released the following statement that morning after the Big Ten announcement.

โ€œAt this time, our universities in California and Oregon do not have approval from state or local public health officials to start contact practice,โ€ Scott stated. โ€œWe are hopeful that our new daily testing capability can help satisfy public health official approvals in California and Oregon to begin contact practice and competition. We are equally closely monitoring the devastating fires and air quality in our region at this time. We are eager for our student-athletes to have the opportunity to play this season, as soon as it can be done safely and in accordance with public health authority approvals.โ€

After that statement was made, California Governor Gavin Newsom spoke with Scott and allowed each county that the school resides in to give the approval to practice and have a season. The Southern California schools (USC and UCLA) received approval. Stanford and Cal are expected to be approved to begin play. Later on September 16, Oregon Governor Kate Brown granted exemptions to both Oregon and Oregon State as long as the conference provided written protocols to the local heath authority.

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter:ย @TrevorASports.ย You can download and listen to the podcast,ย here.

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